IBADAN—A former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, said Nigeria must take the issue of leadership seriously if it hopes to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals’ initiatives by the year 2030.
Obi spoke, yesterday, in Ibadan at the 8th Annual Sustainable Development Summit organised by Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Ibadan in collaboration with African Sustainable Development Network.
Speaking on the theme, “The Leadership and Governance Imperatives of Achieving the SDGs in Times of Economic Shocks and Uncertainties,” Obi, who started by reviewing the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, that gave birth to the SDGs, said it was unfortunate that no African country achieved the MDGs due to what he called “leadership failure,” and the penchant of African leaders to pursue selfish and sectional rather than national interests.
The China example
Using data and statistics, Obi, who compared China and Africa within a given period, lamented that China had overtaken the entire countries of Africa put together in all indices of development due to their commitment to their country and people.
Reviewing the secret of China’s MDGs success, Obi said: “Over 15 years (200-2015), in partnership with the United Nations’ system office in China, China was fully committed to the MDGs integrating the goals into their development shortages from national to local government.
“China ensured effective and coordinated planning and managing their economic growth. China’s successful integration of MDGs into its national development plan helped China achieve an unprecedented transformative result.”
He observed that at the end of the MDGs, China was able to lift 439 million people out of poverty, achieved 100% literacy level , 98% enrollment among primary school age and tremendous improvement in health care delivery.
On the contrary, he said within the same period in Africa, “Reports show clearly that the African continent was off-track. Sub Saharan Africa, for example, became the only region in the world where poverty rose from 290 million in 1990 to 414 million in 2010; where undernourished children rose from 27 million in 1990 to 32 million in 2012; where children affected by stunting growth rose from 44 million in 1990 to 58 million in 2012.”
Obi noted that China had started working towards achieving the SDGs by the year 2030 by doing exactly what it did with the MDGs and called on Nigeria to do the same by mainstreaming the SDG into Nigeria development plans.
In his words: “From the Chinese position on the SDGs, you can clearly see the leadership imperatives in achieving the SDGs. It is first about the leadership vision and commitment to the agenda.
“Secondly, it is about integrating the agenda in your planning and developmental strategies across all levels of government from national to the local governments.
“Thirdly, it involves mobilizing all resources towards achieving the goals, ensuring that the goals are well publicized in order for the citizens to take ownership and ensure participation.”
Recalling how his Government tried to pursue the MDG goals, Obi said his budgeting, planning and delivery where modeled after the MDGs.
The programme was attended by prominent Nigerians from all walks of life, including the Adviser to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Prof. Olanrewaju Olsniyan, Prof. Idowu Okayinka, Prof. James Tooley.